WATER with arsenic in it may be the most
poisonous drink for us, but for two
strains of bacteria, discovered by
French researchers, it is the daily means
of sustenance. A stream flowing
through the abandoned Carnoules
lead and zinc mine in the Cevennes
mountains in southern France was
found to be the home of these
Researchers led by Michel Leblanc from the French national research agency, CNRs, at the University of Montpellier, believe that the bacteria could belong to the Thiobaciiius and Leptothrix strains. These convert the soluble form of arsenic into a less toxic precipitate. Said John Fawell, chief toxicologist at the Water Research Centre in Medmenham, Buckinghamshire, "it would be extremely exciting if these bacteria could be used for treatment of drinking water".
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